Just when I thought Texas government couldn't get any more medieval, some bonehead judge takes things back to the stone ages. In this case, the bonehead is Brownsville Justice of the Peace Gustavo Garza, who has apparently never heard of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
A Los Fresnos family is going to court to try to prevent a Cameron County justice of the peace from ordering spankings in his courtroom.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges that Justice of the Peace Gustavo "Gus" Garza told a 14-year-old girl's stepfather that she would be found guilty of a criminal offense and fined $500 for truancy unless the stepfather spanked her in the courtroom.
The lawsuit filed by Mary Vasquez and her husband, Daniel Zurita, described the paddle provided by Garza as large and heavy and fashioned from a thick piece of lumber.
"The word 'club' could be fairly used as a substitute for the word 'paddle' here as it appears to be something which may have been cut from a (two-by-four) piece of lumber," attorney Mark Sossi wrote in the family's petition. "The paddles provided by the judge are of such heft and weight that an individual striking an animal with one might be reasonably reported for cruelty to an animal."
In the judge's defense, faculty at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Law in Singapore, where Gustavo Garza studied, reported that he was an excellent student, voted most likely to become a judge by classmates.